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Ministry urged to give more land to small scale miners

12th December 2012
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Victor Mwambalaswa

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals has been requested to ensure enough land is allocated to small scale miners in Chunya District, Mbeya region and that they are provided with working equipment to carry out mineral extraction to improve their livelihood.

This was said yesterday by the Lupa Member of Parliament Victor Mwambalaswa, when explaining developments and challenges facing small scale miners and other sectors within the district.

He said thousands of small scale miners in the district do not have surveyed land for mining which sometimes cause misunderstandings with large scale miners.

“We urge the government to give them land as well as modern and low cost mining equipment to facilitate their activities,” said Mwambalaswa.

He said mining extraction in the area now need modern equipment which would enable small scale miners to get minerals easily from underground. Chunya is a home to gold and various precious metals.

However he was optimistic that the Ministry of Energy and Minerals would assist small scale miners to access land and equipment.

“We have been talking to senior officials in the Ministry about our concern and they have shown positive response to support small scale miners meet their dreams,” he added.

Mwambalaswa also stressed on the importance of education saying more efforts were needed to reduce the rate of dropouts.

But we have tried in the last five years to raise the standard of education and now people, especially parents and some of the children, have started realizing the importance of education,” he noted.

He explained that they had managed to increase the number of secondary schools from 3 that existed in 2005 to 11.

“I gave education the first priority in the first five years just to make people aware of what they are supposed to do to get rid of poverty,” he said, adding that the council in collaboration with the central government through the ruling party (CCM) manifesto would work to spearhead the development of the district and the constituency.

Regarding the health sector, the legislator said he would implement the CCM manifesto to ensure every ward had a health centre.

“Charity begins at home. We have started building a health centre in my home ward to reduce maternal and child mortality rates,” the MP explained.

He thanked the World Bank for providing funds for water projects in 17 villages in Chunya district .Already two villages in Songwe constituency have drilled water wells which would help villagers do away with water shortage.

“But for those villages which are not part of this programme, I will continue searching for funds to ensure we provide them with water. We are planning on drilling deep wells in some of the villages after encouraging the community to support such programmes,” he noted.

However the Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Stephen Masele was quoted by this paper saying the government intends to allocate more land to small scale miners. There have been scuffles between the small and large players in the recent past.

“As a result, we have witnessed increased number of conflicts between small scale miners and large scale ones…fighting for the ever decreasing land. This is not good for the development of the economy,” he said.

The government has set aside 9bn/- this year as a loan to be disbursed to small scale miners countrywide, he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN